The United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission delivered a landmark judgement on Wednesday, approving rule changes that will allow the creation of Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) on regulated markets.
The decision means that regular retail investors will finally gain access to the original and most valuable cryptocurrency via their regular investment brokers, without the need for crypto wallets or setting up a profile with a crypto exchange, many of which have been subject to significant controversy if not outright criminal charges.
Having Bitcoin ETFs traded on markets like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Nasdaq means that millions of new investors will finally be able to gain exposure to the decentralised cryptocurrency, with the first fund set to start trading on Thursday (today).
The move is also significant because institutional and regulated investors, like pension funds, will be able to invest in Bitcoin, potentially leading to a huge uptick in interest.
Speaking to BusinessNow.mt, Wesley Ellul, a serial founder and entrepreneur specialising in tech, blockchain, social gaming and entertainment consultancy, described the decision as “another major milestone in the regulatory landscape for Bitcoin which instantly opens the door to millions of new investors who now do not need to know how bitcoin works to gain profits from it.”
He admits that ETFs will create an element of centralisation, but this will also “drastically reduce the complexity of buying it – anyone with a brokerage account in the US can now purchase Bitcoin easily within their brokerage portfolio.”
Asked whether the approval signifies a change in approach towards other cryptocurrencies, however, Mr Ellul believes that will not be the case: “Bitcoin has been singled out in this respect as a commodity due to its truly decentralised nature and due to its proof of work protocol.”
He also points to the words of SEC chair Gary Gensler: The approval “should in no way signal the Commission’s willingness to approve listing standards for crypto asset securities. Nor does the approval signal anything about the Commission’s views as to the status of other crypto assets under the federal securities laws or about the current state of non-compliance of certain crypto asset market participants with the federal securities laws.” –
For Mr Wesley, the bottom line is that the SEC approval of Bitcoin ETFs “will help reduce a lot of the FUD [fear, uncertainty, doubt] going about because all the big boys can make a buck from this.”
Jonathan Galea, CEO of BCAS and executive committee member of The Malta Chamber’s VFA Business Sector, meanwhile notes that “time and time again, Bitcoin has defied all odds and thrived when faced with adversity. Yesterday’s event proved that, despite the efforts by the SEC to stifle the industry, it’s here to stay.”
He adds: “This is also undeniable proof that Malta was right in opening its doors to the Bitcoin and the crypto industry in 2018, pioneering the way for legislation at an EU level, and for once being a global trailblazer.”
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